Some Texas businesses begin requiring masks or face coverings again

Some businesses are beginning to require masks again as COVID-19 cases increase nationwide.

In Houston, doctors say they’re noticing more Coronavirus patients seeking hospital care.

"We’ve got over 400 patients hospitalized now with COVID," said Dr. Anna Maria Davidson from Memorial Hermann Hospital.  "At the beginning of the month, just a few weeks ago, we had 100."

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Texas Medical Center reported 63 new COVID-19 patients on July 1st, 2021.  In comparison, Texas Medical Center reported 234 new COVID-19 patients on July 29th, 2021.  Nationally, COVID-19 numbers also continue to climb.

"We are now seeing case levels per day closing in on 100,000," said Dr. Francis Collins from the National Institutes of Health.  "Which we haven’t seen since February."

In Texas, there’s currently a statewide ban on mask mandates.

"We’re past the time for mandates," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in July.  "We’re in the time for personal responsibility."

However, business can enforce their own mask policies. 

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On Monday, Space Center Houston will begin requiring all customer to wear face masks.  According to their website, the new mask requirement will be for every guest at least 2 years old, regardless of vaccination status. The company’s website says the new policy is based on CDC recommendations and is "in response to the rapid rise of Delta variant cases".

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he’s also considering a new COVID-19 policy for municipal workers. An announcement could be made next week.

I’m now reassessing our policies," said Mayor Turner.  "I anticipate sometime around mid-week I’ll be making an announcement.  I have a responsibility as the mayor of this city, to do everything within my power to protect the health and the safety of municipal employees as well as the people in this city."